The term mental health refers to an individual’s ability to manage and control their emotions and behaviour in accordance with societal norms, it may also be referred to as psychological health. The World Health Organization, defines mental health as “a state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community. Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”
You may feel that, under the above definition of mental and psychological health, that you are not coping optimally due to complicated grief. Do not panic. It is perfectly normal to feel overwhelmed during bereavement, and it requires specialised care to help you deal with the myriad of challenges associated with losing a partner. The important thing to remember is to reach out to a qualified practitioner – sometimes a chat with a friend over a cup of tea is just not enough. Bear in mind that the vast majority of family and friends will not have the skills required to provide the help that you may need. Our loved ones can comfort us but, when complicated grief sets in, it is better to err on the side of caution and speak to your doctor about how to approach the problem. Your doctor will probably refer you to a psychologist for an initial consultation. Do not lose heart if you do not “click” with the psychologist assigned to you. Ask for an alternative – it is vitally important that you can create a strong bond with your psychologist if you want to have successful results. Your doctor may also recommend SSRIs, but please do bear in mind the complications that can arise from psychopharmaceutical medication.
See our menu of very helpful articles by Dr. Sharon Galor which may help you along your journey. We recommend a fully qualified clinical psychologist for dealing with complicated grief.